Under Pressure

Sunday’s Scripture –March 15, 2020

So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.”  Exodus 17:4

And just like that, like a simple
neighborhood event, a miracle is
taking place.
– from “This Morning” by Mary Oliver


Our scripture this week begins with a time of anxiety. The people that Moses led out of Egypt, out of slavery, were quaralling. They were anger. They were taking their anger out on Moses.

The people and Moses are in desperate situations of crisis. They face life-and-death situations. The people think they may die of hunger, while Moses thinks he may die at the hands of the people.

The lack of water wasn’t Moses’ fault. Yet as the leader of Israel, he had to lead them to the answer – and crying out to the Lord was the right way to lead them to the solution.

Moses knew the people were unfair to him “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!

When we have a problem, it is much easier to blame someone than to think through the problem carefully and spiritually. In this situation Israel could have thought and verbalized, “We are in a desert. It is not surprising there isn’t a great deal of water here. We need to look to God to help meet this need.” Instead they blamed Moses and did nothing to help in the problem.

But Moses still had to lead while under the pressure of unfair attack, and he did the right thing in turning to God.

God provides not only for the physical need, but in a way that restores the community. God had caused bread to fall from heaven. Working through Moses, God causes water to spring up from the earth. By working through Moses, the community is restored even as their physical needs are met.

It is not the just people of Israel who were lacking faith. It is true for all of us. It is not merely the ancient Israelites who complained against God. We do so also.

What does this mean for us as a community of faith? This story names what it means that all humans are fallen and broken creatures. This story names what it means to have a gracious and faithful Lord.



  • When you are anxious or scared, what do you do?
  • How can we remind ourselves to turn to God in times of strife and uncertainty?
  • How can we be like Moses in the uncertainty of what our world is going through, right now?

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